Power Crisis

Law may demand energy savings

2008-10-15 15:56

Special Report

Eskom may seek 34% tariff hike

Eskom is set to seek a 34% hike in electricity tariffs, back from the 88% rise it had been considering due to the global economic slowdown, a newspaper says.

Johannesburg - Eskom may propose legislation to force companies to save energy, a senior manager said on Wednesday.

"There's an attempt within Eskom to push for energy efficiency and we've also been imploring the industry to drop their usage by about 10%," said Monkwe Mpye, senior manager of energy efficiency and demand side management at Eskom.

"The energy power reservation programme is intended to do that. We do see some savings, but there is a view that maybe it must be legislated and we are in discussions about that," he told a convention of the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Johannesburg.

Mpye was briefing the convention on Eskom's energy saving incentives and said the most successful project so far had been the compact fluorescent lights (CFL) programme.

CFLs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent light bulbs and they last six to ten times longer.

In 2004, Eskom replaced five million traditional light bulbs with energy saving light bulbs.

"This year alone we are doing six million of the CFL exchanges," said Mpye.

That includes 1.3 million light bulb exchanges at corporate companies, an easy way to "reach out to the gated type communities", he said.

The rollout would exchange more than eight million light bulbs in 2009 and 2010.

Eskom would also like to replace electric geysers with solar water heaters but that was a costly exercise. The installation of a solar water heater could cost anything between R8 000 and R30 000.

Local insurance companies replaced about 30 000 geysers every month.

If 900 000 electric geysers could be replaced by solar water heaters, it would save Eskom 578 megawatts.

"It will be good to see a mass rollout. The danger here is you will get fly-by-nights who will install geysers that break after a year," said Mpye.

South Africa had only about three or four local manufacturers which were "very small businesses".

"It's a huge business opportunity to set up a plant here," said Mpye.

Another energy saving area was replacing electric motor systems with pumps, fan systems, compressed air systems or conveyors.

In South Africa, motor systems account for 60% of industrial electricity usage, and many of these motors are oversized.

Globally, the percentage is 40%.

Eskom's aim is to replace 5 100 motor systems, but it has up to now only replaced 200.

- Sapa

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